WHAT IS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION – FOI?

The Freedom of Information Act 1997 commenced on 21st April 1998 for Government Departments and Offices and certain other Government bodies, and on 21st October 1998 for local authorities and health boards.  The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Act 2003 came into force on 11th April 2003. 

The Freedom of Information Acts assert the right of members of the public to obtain access to official information to the greatest extent possible consistent with the public interest and the right to privacy of individuals. 

The Act established three new statutory rights:

Under the Freedom of Information Acts, everyone is entitled to apply for access to information not otherwise publicly available.  You have a right to request:

The following categories of records come within the scope of the Acts:

HOW DO I MAKE A REQUEST UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACTS?

If you wish to seek access to information within the Department using the Freedom of Information Acts you will need to:

The Freedom of Information Officer
FOI Unit/Corporate Governance Division
Room 303
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

If you are having difficulty in identifying the precise records that you require, the staff of the Department will be happy to help you. 

The Department will acknowledge receipt of your request in writing within 10 working days.  The acknowledgement letter will also provide you with the name and contact details of the person who will be making the decision in relation to your request and will advise you when you can expect to receive this decision. 

WHAT FEES ARE PAYABLE IN RELATION TO MY REQUEST?

In addition to the application fee of €15, or €10 for medical card holders, fees may also be charged for searching for and retrieving the records requested.  This process involves two stages:

  1. Locating the broad set of records in which those requested might be found.
  2. Identifying, extracting and assembling the particular records sought for examination.

Fees for the estimated cost of searching for and retrieving records and copying the records can only be charged with respect to records being released.  €20.95 is charged for each hour spent searching for and retrieving records and €0.04 is charged per sheet for a photocopy of the records released.  Where the estimated total cost of searching for and retrieving the records sought is likely to exceed €50.79, we are obliged to charge a deposit of at least 20% of the estimate to the requester.


WHAT CAN I DO IF I AM UNHAPPY WITH THE DEPARTMENT'S DECISION?

The Freedom of Information Acts set out a series of exemptions to protect sensitive information where its disclosure may damage key interests of the State or of third parties.  Where this Department invokes these provisions to withhold records, the requester will be advised.  Virtually all decisions to refuse release of records may be appealed.  Other decisions in relation to deferral of access to records, fees charged, forms of access etc., may also be appealed.

1. Internal Review

You may seek an internal review of the Department's initial decision in relation to your request if:

The internal review will be carried out by an official at a higher grade than the original decision maker and who was not involved in the original decision making process.  The Department must complete its internal review of the original decision within 15 working days of receipt of the request for an internal review. 

A request for an internal review must be submitted within 4 weeks receipt of the initial decision and requests should be posted to:

The Freedom of Information Officer
Corporate Governance Division
Room 303
Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

A fee of €75, (€25 for medical card holders), must accompany all internal review requests.  Fees can be submitted in the form of a postal order, bank draft or cheque made payable to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. 

An internal review may affirm, vary or annul the original decision in relation to a request.  The internal review process must be completed before an appeal can be submitted to the Information Commissioner.

2. Review by the Information Commissioner

If you are still dissatisfied following completion of the internal review, you may also seek an independent review of the Department's decision from the Information Commissioner.  Furthermore, if you have not received a reply from the Department to your application for internal review within 3 weeks, this is deemed to be a refusal and you may appeal the matter to the Commissioner.

Appeals should be made in writing and can be made directly to the Information Commissioner at address provided below.  Appeals should be accompanied by a fee of €150 (€50 for medical card holders).  Fees should be submitted in the form of a postal order, Bank Draft or cheque made payable to the Office of the Information Commissioner to:

Office of the Information Commissioner
18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Lo-Call:           1890 223 030
Email:              info@oic.ie
Tel:                  01 639 5689
Fax:                 01 639 5674

 

THE DEPARTMENT'S SECTION 15 AND SECTION 16 REFERENCE BOOK

A guide to the operation of the Freedom of Information Acts and the functions, records, rules and practices of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

This reference book has been prepared and published in accordance with the requirements of Section 15 and Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Acts.  Its purpose is to facilitate access to official information held by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht by outlining the structure and functions of the Department; details of the services provided and how they may be availed of; information on the classes of records held; and information on how to make a request to the Department under the Freedom of Information Acts.

FOI - Sections 15 and 16 - Reference Book (951 kb)

PUBLICATION OF FOI REQUESTS RECEIVED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ARTS, HERITAGE AND THE GAELTACHT

The attached documents are logs of all of the requests submitted to this Department under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts since its establishment on 1 June 2011.  It provides the following information in relation to each request received:

  1. The reference Number assigned to the request by the Department;
  2. The date on which the request was received in the Freedom of Information Unit of the Department;
  3. The category of the person making the request, e.g. whether they are a journalist, interest group or company or an individual. This includes non-personal FOI requests only;
  4. A summary of the information or records requested;
  5. The date on which the Department’s decision was issued to the applicant;
  6. A summary of that decision, e.g. whether the request was granted in full, part granted, refused or withdrawn and dealt with outside of the Freedom of Information Acts. 

The table will be updated regularly.   If you have any queries in relation to any of these requests or the operation of the Freedom of Information Acts in this Department generally, please feel free to contact the FOI Unit (details below) and we will be happy to help you.  

Address:         Freedom of Information Unit

                       Corporate Governance Division

                       Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

                       23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Email:              corporate.governance@ahg.gov.ie

Tel:                  01 631 3829/631 3830

2011 FOI Log (32 kb)
2011 FOI Log

2012 FOI Log (157 kb)

2013 FOI Log (143 kb)

2014 Q1 FOI Log (112 kb)

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

If you would like to submit a request under the FOI Acts to this Department or if you have any general queries in relation to the operation of the Freedom of Information Acts in this Department generally, please feel free to contact the FOI Unit (details below) and we will be happy to help you.

Address:         Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
FOI Unit/Corporate Governance Division
Room 303
23 Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Email:             corporate.governance@ahg.gov.ie
Tel:                 01 631 3830/631 3829

Further information in relation to the Freedom of Information Acts can also be found on the website, www.foi.gov.ie, which is maintained by the Freedom of Information Central Policy Unit in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

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